Now, I am a professional Internet writer, which means that I get a lot more practice at it than most of you because my paycheck is directly tied to exactly how much insane nutjobbery I can mine from the ample veins of the online world.
And that's a good world to live in.
Since I have this gig, I typically get a lot of friends on Facebook tagging me or sending me links that were shared by friends asking if they are legit. I usually resist responding with the link to Google's homepage because 99 percent of the time I can tell within a second whether or not monkey poo is hurtling towards my eyes in the form of 1s and 0s just by looking at the home URL of the link.
Today I thought I'd let you know which links you can safely ignore if the question is legitimacy because these almost never are. I say almost never, because even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Don't let that keep you from getting a working watch, though.
Natural News: Let's start with my hippy friends, the ones that think aspartame gives you cancer and that GMOs are essentially that ice cream from The Stuff. Links from Natural News are rarely anything but extreme left-wing paranoia, though for variety's sake they've started bashing on Obama and gun control lately as well to remain well rounded chicken littles. Nonetheless, any website that posts articles claiming that the cure to AIDS is more water is assuredly nuts.
Infowars: Alex Jones is God-Mammon of all the great conspiracy cranks, and unfortunately he is also insanely popular in the most literal translation of that term. He's the sort of person that would accuse ionic bonds of unionizing, and his websites, especially Infowars, are the pipeline from which he dribbles a combination of fear and hate into the mouths of listeners like a mama bird that's eaten a poison worm.
My personal favorite bit of wackiness from the man was when he set out to prove that a mention of a Sandy Hook section of Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises proved that the Adam Lanza shooting was part of a wider conspiracy. The fact that it had previously been mentioned in Gotham Knight four years prior is either ignored or just more proof depending on how much your mother drank while she was pregnant.
The Daily Currant: People still, still, still seem to be falling for Onion stories as if they were actual true news stories, and that is becoming really embarrassing because the Onion is, not joking, turns 25-years-old this year. Yet even journalists still get caught doing television and print stories on the satirical website as if it were fact.
You feel sorry for those people, and rightfully so because that level of gullibility and ignorance of the world around you is reserved for dogs that think you're a wizard when you pretend to throw the ball but actually don't. The Daily Currant, though, is a much newer and similar satire source, so we should be a bit more forgiving when your friends believe that George W. Bush accidentally voted for Barack Obama because he couldn't figure out the voting machine. Just point them to the About page so they learn what the website is all about.
Accuracy in Media: Is the news liberally biased? Maybe. Most reporters I know are fairly liberal for the same reason most bankers I know are conservative. Certain jobs tend to attract certain people. The stated goal of Accuracy in Media is to hold the mainstream media accountable for its misreporting, which is why I am going to be very careful when I tell you the site also assures us that...
*There is ongoing homosexual recruitment in schools.
*Barack Obama's birth certificate is questionable.
*That Catholic initiatives to ward off the effects of climate change are a secret plot to destroy Christianity and institute a pagan world religion.
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It's times like this I wonder if I'm biased or just passionately not a dumbass.
Lark News: Finally, just so my atheist friends don't feel too proud of themselves for being immune to fantasies, here's the Lark News. It's yet another parody website, this one dedicated to mocking fundamentalist Christian ideals such the purity movement by saying that a married couple continues to practice abstinence long after getting married because God said so.
And it is always my atheist friends who get sucked in by this obvious farcical site in a round of self-congratulatory back-patting. Proof that even people that pride themselves and define themselves by not believing without proof can still be clueless airheads who can't see the forest for all the squirrel shit.